The Victory Team proved unstoppable once again at the Dubai GP. Al photos courtesy XCAT World Series
While the team didn’t head to the front from the start of the season’s second race, an almost perfect long lap strategy saw the pair take the lead on the ninth lap and eventually finish with a 17-second differential over the second-place Abu Dhabi Team 5.
After powering into the lead with a sensational start from the second gate, Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori weren’t able to build up enough of a lead to stay ahead of the high-flying Victory Team.
The battle for the third spot had some amazing action with Swecat (Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark), Gold Coast Australia (Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton) and Dubai 33 (Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali) all battling it out for the final podium spot. But it was the Swedish Swecat team of Bengtsson and Stark that finally took it with Dubai 33 struggling with its power steering for the final three laps and Gold Coast losing some power in one of its engines.
“It was exciting—we know our capacity and we know our capabilities so we kept racing and planned a strategy on how to overtake (Abu Dhabi Team 5),” Victory Team’s manager Ragesh Elayadeth said. “We didn’t want to take a risk on the racecourse so we kept racing and we applied our long lap strategy and came out in front.”
The start of an XCAT World Series race is always a pretty sight.
Asked if the drivers had been at all nervous spending the first part of the race in second spot, Elayadeth added: “Arif and Nadir are the masters. There’s no other word to describe them. They know what to do. There were no nerves at all. They keep calm, they know when to go for the long laps and when to put pressure on.”
Abu Dhabi Team 5’s Al Tayer was thrilled with the performance after the disappointment of not finishing last weekend’s race, but said a few errors had cost them.
“Our start was amazing—we gave everything and found ourselves in front,” Al Tayer said. “It was on one of the long laps that we made a mistake though driving into the sun and had a big jump on one of the waves and lost a lot of speed there.”
The American duo of Jay Price and Shaun Torrente only finished 10 of the 16 laps in the Spanish-backed Lady Spain.
With high winds and rough seas forecast for Saturday, the Dubai GP was moved a day earlier, which means there’s still more XCAT action to come this weekend with the one-on-one, drag race-style Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run scheduled for Saturday afternoon. After that, the XCAT action moves to Lugano, Switzerland, for the third round from June 4-5.
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